International Women's Day: Kayleigh Malone Q&A

What do/did you study at the University and what made you study here?


I studied Paramedic Science prior to starting at Students' Union. I had heard great things about Herts and it's long and positive reputation for moulding outstanding paramedics. When I arrived for my interview, I fell in love with Herts, seeing it as the only university I had I applied for being that I could see myself living at. 


What is your greatest achievement? This can be personal or related to your professional career


My greatest achievement is probably my degree itself, having faced some difficult challenges from managing a learning disability to coming to grips with my mental health issues. Coming out the other side with a good degree and starting a competitive job a few months later definitely must be my biggest achievement to date.


Are there any women in your life who have been a role model?


It is 100% the people around me! I volunteer with a local youth organisation where we support young people to develop skills for life, the women and young women that support me within the group and my team are inspirational!


Not only that I am astonished every day by women within the Students’ Union and the University with how passionate and supportive they are to students and other staff members, leading on projects and research. They really show how women can be successful in senior positions within higher education.


Have you ever experienced a barrier or a struggle due to your gender? If you overcame this, how did you do it?


Studying in a profession that is predominantly male, I have come across some derogatory comments from the public both toward myself and other women with the profession. With comments like "you two girls will never be able to lift me down the stairs" or " oh where is the ambulance man to drive me to the hospital" said to an all-female crew of which 2 were more than capable of driving and caring for the patient.  To overcome these barriers often it is usually a mix of education and humour to reassure the patient that we are more than capable to support them.


What do you think society can do to advance gender equality?


Society could do a lot to advance gender equality, abolishing the pink tax was only the tip of the iceberg.  Spaces and platforms are needed to discuss these issue, to educate others and to show that it is still an issue not only in the UK but around the world. Women in positions of power should be advocating for gender equality and that is why I am sharing my story ... to continue the much-needed conversation!


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